STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STEM subjects are integral to the UK’s success: the UK is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer, engineering turnover is around £800 billion per year, and whilst the UK makes up only 1% of the world’s population, we produce 10% of the world’s top scientific research. Despite this, it is remarkable to note that even though STEM graduates have the potential to earn amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits, employers are finding it difficult to recruit STEM skilled staff. Alongside our need for a skilled STEM workforce, it is crucial that all young people, regardless of their future career pathway, have the STEM knowledge and skills they need to be an informed citizen in an increasingly scientific and technological society.
The Government has long identified STEM education as a major priority at both school and HE level. In 2007 the McKinsey report, How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top, compared successful education systems from across the world to identify the factors most likely to provide the best education. Not surprisingly the Report’s key finding was that:
‘Above all, the top performing systems demonstrate that quality of an education system depends ultimately on the quality of its teachers.’
Education for a strong STEM economy is built on strong subject teaching. As learners progress they require specialist knowledge to challenge them. At Hayesfield STEM subjects are usually taught individually, providing students with the benefit of specialist teaching. However the view of STEM that young people experience outside of school is far more complex – with technology and engineering at the fore, drawing on a broad science base and mathematical expertise.
STEM at Hayesfield 2015 – 2016
STEM focusses on the additional opportunities and experiences these subjects can offer, either individually or combined. STEM activities at Hayesfield have continued to grow during 2015 and 2016.
This year Hayesfield has been recognised for the involvement the school has with STEM, during 2014-2015. The STEM Engagement Badge is presented to schools that have used STEM Ambassadors at least three times in an academic year. STEM Ambassadors are volunteers from industry or universities who deliver free activities and talks in local schools to inspire students about STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The range of STEM activities that Hayesfield has organised was recognised as being extensive and included the Ignite Days, Master Class and Period 6 activities. Hayesfield has already been recognised for running GCSE Engineering and promoting STEM subjects to girls.
STEM activities for 2015-2016 have included:
- 30 Year 5 primary students have spent an Ignite day with Technology staff working on a wide range of challenging technology projects and getting the opportunity to use the workshop and textiles facilities
- Science Fair week involved all students in Years 7 and 8 producing projects and experiments, from a range of possible topics. During the final day of the Science Fair week, students in Years 7 to 9 were invited to view the projects, along with staff and parents. As part of the Science Week students were also involved in ‘I’m a Scientist, get me out of here’, which involved live, online discussion and activities with scientists
- Year 7 students have visited the Space Dome (in the Brougham Hayes hall) and explored rocket construction
- The whole of Year 8 have spent an Ignite day working with 3 female Dyson engineers. The young engineers presented on how to become an engineer and the different styles of engineering jobs available. The students then spent the day working through a design problem, building a proto-type and presenting it to the engineers
- As part of the Careers and Employability Fair, we had over 30 employers talking to students at UOP. These employers included engineers from BMT, Cross Engineering and Dyson
- ‘Dyson Chicago’ have visit to see Dyson projects in action – very impressed with what Hayesfield is doing regarding STEM and has taken lessons learned back to the USA
- Period 6 STEM activities have included Technology Enterprise and Digital Makers groups. External computing professionals have been involved in the delivery of the Digital Makers Period 6
- Year 9 students have also had an Ignite day focussed on different aspects of British Values and how they interact with Science. This included an activity based the morals of genetic engineering
- In Maths, students have been involved in Numeracy week and a numeracy treasure trail around Brougham Hayes. The Maths Faculty have also taken a group a Year 10 and 11 to a Maths lecture at the Forum and ran a Maths and Finance day for Year 13
- A significant STEM development has been the involvement of Hayesfield with the Arkwright Engineering Scholarships. These scholarships are aimed at supporting future leaders in Engineering. Highly competitive to get to this stage (application form + exam so far) and 3 students have been called to interview. Students will find out if they are successful in July. If successful they will get support through their A levels (financial, training and mentoring).
STEM activities are still planned for the rest of the year and include:
- A number of Year 10 and 12 students representing Hayesfield in a STEM Conference at Red Maid’s in May. The conference includes a significant medical and engineering focus and also has representatives from the land speed ‘Blood Hound’ project
- A group of Year 8 students attending a STEM evening at BMT (local engineering company), which is also aimed at developing further STEM activities and links for schools
Within the Hayesfield curriculum we offer an enormous range of STEM subjects. At GCSE this include Engineering and our development and delivery of the subject, within a girls school has achieved local and national attention, including a BBC news report.
STEM activities lend themselves to cross-curricular activities and for Hayesfield these have been vast. Period 6 activities over the last year have included Science clubs, Technology enterprise clubs and Maths challenges. We have also had STEM focussed Ignite days (cross-curricular days) that have involved a large focus on Engineering and which have bee supported by companies such as Rolls Royce, BMT and Dyson. Each company deserves a special mention:
- Rolls Royce have supported students in a unique STEM work experience opportunity in Filton
- Dyson have worked with Hayesfield for a number of years and aided in the development of a range of lesson and curriculum resources, alongside Hayesfield staff
- BMT HQ Sigma have also delivered a number of bespoke STEM days for Year 8 students, focusing on the design development of landing craft
STEM curriculum information and links to further resources to support students in STEM subjects are included below: